43% of people with COVID-19 get ‘long COVID’, study finds

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The World Health Organization offered a clinical case definition of post-COVID conditions in October 2021 as mid-and long-term symptoms occurring in individuals after COVID-19 infection, also known as long COVID.

A recent study from the University of Michigan found that around the world, 43% of people infected with COVID-19 experienced post-COVID conditions.

In the study, the team looked at data from 50 studies and 1.6 million people to estimate the proportion of individuals facing long COVID in Asia, Europe and North America.

They found global prevalence for post-COVID-19 conditions at 30, 60, 90 and 120 days after infection were estimated to be 37, 25, 32, and 49 percent.

Regionally, Asia had the highest post-COVID-19 condition prevalence at 51 percent, followed by Europe at 44 percent, and North America at 31 percent.

Fatigue (23 percent) and memory problems (14 percent) were cited as the most common symptoms of individuals with the post-COVID-19 condition.

Some lingering post-COVID-19 symptoms remain in roughly 34 percent of non-hospitalized COVID patients while the rate jumps to 54 percent for hospitalized COVID patients.

The researchers suggest that the changing landscape of COVID-19 due to new variants may have implications for the prevalence of long COVID and symptom burden in the future, highlighting the Omicron variant’s milder symptoms on vaccinated and previously infected populations.

They also point out that different protocols in long COVID diagnosis across the world make it challenging to synthesize studies.

Understanding the risk factors for long COVID will better prepare healthcare providers and systems to develop post-COVID management plans.

If you care about COVID, please read studies about the cause of severe COVID symptoms, and new evidence on rare blood clots after COVID-19 vaccination.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about common drugs that may increase risk of cognitive decline, and results showing Harvard scientists find the leading cause of multiple sclerosis.

The research was published in the Journal of Infectious Disease and conducted by Bhramar Mukherjee et al.

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